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The Mile that Keeps You Fit and Agile

The pain of running relieves the pain of living. You may have come across this famous quote by Jacqueline Simon Gunn. The award-winning writer, clinical psychologist and avid runner so briefly sum up the benefits of running.

What she says is true, backed by scientific evidence. 

Running half an hour can do the trick: Modern lifestyle has brought upon us many health-related challenges. The problem is we seldom take them seriously. We also know exercise is the first stepping stone to a healthy body and mind. But do we find enough time to visit a gym daily? We are always short on time.

Running for half an hour daily can do the trick. Running is no less a complete exercise to keep both body and mind fit. Running falls in the category of aerobic exercise. Put, aerobic means living or doing an activity in the presence of oxygen.

Let’s briefly discuss how running keeps both mind and body agile.

  • Running improves the overall health of our heart. It increases blood flow, allows the heart to exercise more to pump blood in and out and strengthens our lungs to take in more oxygen.
  • It helps burn fast those extra calories, which accumulate in your body to make you chubby. On average, running 12 minutes a mile can reduce about 600–750 calories in an hour. This helps keep your body shipshape and well-toned.
  • Running helps de-stress your body and faculties. It boosts resistance to stress. As a result, it boosts your immunity. A body of research shows that those who run or exercise daily are less prone to falling sick to allergies, cold and other conditions.
  • Running helps fight the age-related decline in cognitive skills by boosting memory and focus.
  • Running makes bones strong and sturdy. It also helps you get good sleep, increases focus, corrects mood, and makes you less prone to depression.

How a simple idea creates a movement

That February afternoon in 2012, a class of 10–11-year-old children were asked to do a warm-up run across the field of their school. Elaine Wyllie was shocked to see them writhe and double over in pain. The headteacher of St. Ninian’s Primary School at Stirling in Scotland took it upon herself to make a positive intervention. She knew her wards lacked fitness.

But she didn’t go for something very big.

She encouraged the class to run around their school for 15 minutes daily. She did not know this baby step would lay the foundation for what came to be known as The Daily Mile movement. The daily short run made a visible impact. None of the primary school students was found to be obese by the year-end.

The local community also began to participate. Soon, the movement drew the attention of both local and federal governments. School after school began to adopt the movement. Within a couple of years, it became a worldwide phenomenon.

With growing popularity, The Daily Mile also drew the attention of researchers. The exercise has created a positive impact on children with dyspraxia. This condition causes poor physical coordination, memory, and information processing among the affected; In Scotland, the trend has been reversed among those who participated in The Daily Mile programme.

In partnership with The Daily Mile Foundation, the universities of Edinburgh and Stirling have also conducted a major study; the study found the programme reduced body fat among its participants and increased their fitness and activity levels.

No surprise then if The Daily Mile has today been adopted by more than 7000 primary schools across 70 countries, including the USA, Ireland and Africa.

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